President-elect Joe Biden named Rep. Deb Haaland as a Home Office pilot. If approved by the Senate, Haaland will become the department’s first indigenous head.
Keeping a promise to diversify your cabinet President-elect Joe Biden announced that he will appoint Rep. Deb Haaland (DN.M.) as Secretary of the Interior.
If this were approved by the Senate, Haaland would be the first Native American and only the third woman to take office. She would also be the first Native American woman to ever hold a cabinet position. Haaland was one of the few Native leaders considered for this position. Biden also looked at Michael Connor, a citizen of the Taos Pueblo tribe and former assistant secretary of the interior from 2014 to 2017.
Deb Haaland: Biden’s Minister of the Interior
January 28, 2020: U.S. Representative Deb Haaland’s City Hall meeting at the Main Library to discuss issues affecting District 1 residents; Photo credit: Romie Miller
Rep. Deb Haaland is a 35th generation New Mexican and a registered citizen of the Laguna Pueblo people. As one of two indigenous women ever to be elected to Congress, Haaland has represented New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District since 2019. There she was chair of the subcommittee on natural resources in national parks, forests and public areas. She was also the vice-chair of the Natural Resources Committee.
Prior to her time in Congress, Haaland ran for New Mexico governor in 2014 and served as chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party. She advocated environmentally friendly practices in the tribal game sector and was also involved in tribal administration.
In addition to its role as land, water and wildlife steward, the Ministry of the Interior oversees the Indian Affairs Office and Indian Education Office. Still, the 171-year-old division has a shameful history that includes breaking tribal treaties, sending indigenous children to assimilating boarding schools, and driving indigenous groups from indigenous lands.
Native speakers talk about Haaland nomination
A variety of indigenous groups, in-house democratic representatives, well-known celebrities and progressive environmental groups supported indigenous interior ministry leaders, with Haaland at the forefront. And abundant letters, social media print and press pushed Biden to vote.
“It is an incredible move to have a local woman run the agency that oversees the administration of public and tribal areas,” said Dr. Len Necefer, CEO of NativesOutdoors. “Hopefully this is the first step towards fulfilling the contractual obligations and complying with the trust and trust agreement that the federal government has concluded with the indigenous people.”
“We congratulate Rep. Haaland on this historic appointment. Today there is more than just history to be written. The appointment of Haaland gives us a voice in a department that has long been responsible for our exploitation, ”Nick Tilsen, CEO and president of the NDN collective, said in a statement shared on the group’s Instagram page.
“As Secretary of the Interior Ministry, she will have the power to stand up to the companies that have been influencing the Ministry for generations and causing the destruction of indigenous areas.”